Blog Confidential

One of the services that we offer here at the School of Government is what I like to call the “hotline.” When you have a question about the law, you can call us or email us and we’ll try to answer it. Although different faculty members treat those calls slightly differently, most of us treat … Read more

Banned from the County

The First Circuit recently upheld a district court’s imposition of a special condition of supervised release banning two convicted drug dealers from Suffolk County, Massachusetts (basically, Boston) during the entirety of their eight- and twelve-year periods of supervision (United States v. Garrasteguy). The case caught my eye for two reasons. First, that’s a long time … Read more

Encrypted Computer Files and the Fifth Amendment

Can the state compel a suspect to provide access to encrypted files on the suspect’s computer?  For example, if the police suspect that I’m running a Ponzi scheme, but I’ve got all my business records encrypted, can the state require me to produce an unencrypted version of the records?  It’s an important question because more … Read more

Juvenile Adjudications . . . Aggravating

An article in last Saturday’s paper talked about Governor Perdue’s proposed changes to the probation system. Part of her plan would give probation officers access to probationers’ juvenile records, which reminded me of a related issue I have been meaning to write about: using juvenile adjudications as an aggravating factor at sentencing. Under G.S. 15A-1340.16(d)(18a), … Read more

Knowing and Voluntary Miranda Waivers

The Sixth Circuit, sitting en banc, recently decided a very interesting Miranda case. Garner v. Mitchell, available here, is a capital case.  The defendant stole a woman’s purse, took a taxi to her house, robbed it, and set it on fire to conceal his fingerprints, killing five of the six children who were sleeping in … Read more

A Post Filled with Contempt

Over the past few months I’ve been getting some really interesting questions about contempt. Disclaimer: The real experts on our faculty when it comes to contempt are John Saxon, Michael Crowell, and Cheryl Howell—I’m just dabbling here. But there’s a connection to my field (sentencing), in that many of the questions I’m getting relate to … Read more

Madoff and Victims’ Rights

There’s lots of news these days about the Bernie Madoff case.  Apparently, he’s going to plead guilty today, without a plea agreement, exposing himself to a virtually certain life sentence.  I wonder why he’s doing that.  An interesting article, available here, tries to figure out the angle, but comes up empty.  Could he have suddenly … Read more

Speedy Trial

The News and Observer ran a story recently — available here — about the length of time it takes to resolve murder cases in North Carolina. The average time to disposition was 528 days last year. That figure includes cases resolved by plea or dismissal, suggesting that the average time to trial is probably longer. … Read more